The new look Wallabies side have silenced the critics after their performance against the South African Springboks in the opener for the Rugby Championship.
A home soil advantage at the Wallabies feet, Michael Cheika’s 23 man squad were able to breathe new life into the team’s campaign captained by Stephen Moore. The Australian side statistically having the odds stacked against them, with only one out of five victories won at Suncorp Stadium within previous meets; meaning the crowd of over 35,000 were in for a thrilling match.
The Springboks began the match, which the first error as Handré Pollard put the ball out on the full; allowing the Wallabies to have the throw in. A shaky start from the home side seeing them make an abundance of errors, giving their opposition the opportunity to open the score; but the attempt at conversion by Pollard unsuccessful placing the ball back into play. Every opportunity which the home side would gain in both possession and metres, would unfortunately come undone; as Pollard would finally convert the first penalty goal.
In the 25th minute the first attempt at a penalty goal conversion by Quade Cooper would be unsuccessful, with the side yet to score. The Springbok taking the steering wheel early on, although it would take Adam Ashley-Cooper to begin the charge before getting Matt Giteau and Michael Hooper involved; eventually seeing him score in the 34th minute. As the home side rejoiced with obtaining the lead for the first time within the match, the Springbok quickly hit back with Eben Etzebeth scoring the first try for the South African side; putting them ahead as both teams headed to the sheds. The Springboks leading 12 - 7 at half time.
The recommencement of the match saw South Africa take charge early with a try within the opening stages, as debutant for South Africa Jesse Kriel scoring; the game blowing out to 20 – 7 in the 44th minute. Wallabies coach Michael Cheika immediately introduces David Pocock onto the field, his presences instantly felt alongside Hooper. With possession swinging back the Wallabies way, thanks to an offside penalty converted by Cooper; the home side beginning to close the margin to a 10 point game in the 53rd minute. Strong and sensational efforts by Pocock saw the Springbok force another error, due to his brilliance. Michael Hooper also putting in a heroic last effort both defensively and also in attack, scoring in the 75th.
With the Wallabies trailing only by 3 points, it was a comeback no one saw coming. A late error by South Africa would give Australia yet another chance to score, with skipper Stephen Moore deciding to go for touch; a risky move by the captain. Though the risk would prove worth the reward as Tevita Kuridrani stumbles over the try line, to seal the victory for the Wallabies; defeating the Springboks 24 – 22.
The victory even allowing the side to climb to 5th on the World Rugby Rankings. The Wallabies will now head over to Argentinean, as they try to redeem themselves after their previous meet with the Los Pumas.